Angels Attic is a singular museum of both antique and contemporary dollhouses. It features not only scale-model dwellings but also collections of miniatures, dolls and toys. As a non-profit enterprise, the creation of the museum was the inspiration of local resident Carlee McLaughlin and dedicated by friends and family to the memory of Lauren Kay McLauglin.
The place in which the displays are located is a treasure in and of itself - a Queen Anne Victorian cottage that dates back to 1895, one of the last two such structures in Santa Monica. When the Angels Attic Museum took over the property in 1984, the owners set about restoring the old building to its original period splendor. The result is a rustic and elegant venue, a truly proper Victorian house to house the dollhouses, which at the same time preserves a key part of the city's heritage.
Today the old building has been put to new use, with seven galleries and numerous display cabinets full of tiny replicas. Many of the items on display date back 400 years or more. According to the museum staff, "Dollhouses and miniatures are not only an art form, but they are social history. Through these works of art we can follow the changing styles in architecture and interior design, the lessening drudgery of keeping house, the growing and preparation of food, the changing fashions, paintings and books, even the growth of the toy industry.''
Special events can be arranged for outside groups in the Angels Attic Garden, which features a small greenhouse. Gatherings range from birthday parties to bridal and baby showers, scout outings, and club or business meetings. It is also possible to set up tours for school and social groups, by appointment. All events and special tour arrangements are coordinated by the museum director.
The Angels Attic Museum Store offers a variety of merchandise for sale, including miniatures collectibles, dolls, books, art work, and specially selected gift items. Collectibles from major specialty suppliers, such as the Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint, are also often available here. The Museum Store can arrange packing and shipping to out-of-state locations. California state sales tax applies.
Once a year in the fall, the Angels Attic Museum Store de-acquisitions featured items. Potential buyers are invited to the store to view the selections and place bids. Items put up for auction are among those that have been displayed, ranging from Art Nouveau dollhouses priced at $2,400 to Princess Diana bride dolls listed at $495 and many other uniquely crafted goods.
Angels Attic is open each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from noon until 4pm, but closed on all major holidays. The price of admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 12. Seniors receive a $1 discount.
To assist in financing its operations, Angels Attic offers annual memberships to the public. One year "Angel'' status costs $100.00 and entitles the member to a number of benefits, unlimited free admission to the museum for the member and a guest, plus a ten percent discount on all merchandise sold in the store.
Located three blocks West of Lincoln Boulevard, Angels Attic is near the corner of Colorado Avenue and Fifth Street. The address is 516 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401. From Los Angeles International Airport, get on the I-405 Freeway North to the I-10 Santa Monica Freeway West, exiting north at Fifth Street. Take a right (east) on Colorado Avenue. The museum is on the right.
Only metered street parking is available near Angels Attic. For covered parking, there is a public lot on the corner of Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue.